No Need For Vaccines?

A common attitude among numerous parents is that there simply is no need for vaccines any more. Incidents of whooping cough and polio hardly ever seem to happen these days, so why bother with the vaccine?

While it is true that many of the infections that we vaccinate against rarely occur in children in the United States, Canada, and other developed nations, it is not true that these diseases are completely eliminated from our lives. There are still children who develop whooping cough but, because so many children are immunized against the infection, there is little chance of an outbreak occurring. However, when immunization rates go down, the number of children who contract whooping cough, polio, measles, and mumps go up.

Between 1989 and 1991, there was an outbreak of measles in the United States because fewer children were getting immunized. In the 1970's, Japan and the United Kingdom had an outbreak of whooping cough due to more and more children receiving no immunizations. Until these infections are eradicated from the entire world, not just the country where you live, immunization needs to be continued.

While it may be rare to hear about people developing polio where you live, there are many places throughout the world where this infection is still alive and thriving. With so many people traveling all over the world everyday, diseases are able to travel much further, much faster these days. Just think about the recent outbreaks of West Nile Virus and SARS and it's easy to see how little it takes for a highly contagious infection to get out of control.

It is possible to eradicate a disease through immunization. Smallpox is no longer a concern to anyone thanks to immunization. Making MMR, DTaP, and Hib1 vaccines a distant memory is not something out of our reach. It is very likely that by the time you're a grandparent, these vaccines will no longer be necessary so long as children continue to be immunized.